Botswana Congress Party firebrand, Nzwaligwa Nazwaligwa, who lost the Selibe Phikwe East parliamentary elections to Lands and Housing Minister Nonofo Molefhi in the October general elections says that his political future rests with the masses as they are the ones who will decide if he should continue campaigning for the BCP parliamentary seat or not in the 2014 general elections.
The outspoken Nzwaligwa, whose brazen political attitude made him a firm contender in the Phikwe East parliamentary contest, gave Molefhi a run for his money in the last general elections. But his political clout was not enough to unseat the BDP candidate, and he eventually lost by 3717 to 3170 seats. He finally settled for a position as the administrator of BCP President Gilson Saleshando’s Selibe Phikwe West constituency where the BCP had managed to unseat BDP’s Kavis Kario. His appointment effectively made Nzwaligwa a civil servant and put his political activism, coupled with his outspokenness and brazen attitude, on hold, at least until he vacates the post of constituency administrator.
Some of Nzwaligwa’s detractors have posited that his acceptance of a public service position is effectively a sign of capitulation to the realization that the Selibe Phikwe East parliamentary seat will never be his, and signals the end of his political career.
Others, on the other hand, believe that Nzwaligwa’s appointment as the constituency administrator is actually a tactical move on the part of the BCP, which suggests that he is being groomed to take over from Gilson Saleshando in the event that he retires from politics. Those who support this theory say that Saleshando is ageing, and there is a possibility that he might not contest the general elections in 2014. This theory is lent credence by the fact that Saleshando has already declared that he will not contest the presidency of the BCP at the July congress.
But Nzwaligwa remains cagey about the details, and the figure that he cuts today is starkly different from the belligerent in-your-face politician of yester year, who had no qualms about saying whatever he wanted to say with scant regard for the consequences of his utterances.
“I have retired from active politics and I am solely concentrating on my day to day official duties as the Selebi-Phikwe West constituency administrator.
I will remain so until the end of my contract. And if after the end of my contract the general party membership recalls me to serve the BCP in any other capacity, I will gladly oblige, but for now I am a public servant,” he said in modesty.
But the public servant could not hide the political animal in him, confidently declaring, “that notwithstanding, I am still a member of the BCP, as nothing dictates me not to do so”.
Nzwaligwa refused to respond to the theories that have been put forward about his political future, saying that he will address the issue when the time is right for him to do so.
“Currently, I have retired from politics. It is the general party membership who will decide my political future. Even Saleshando has no power over the general party membership,” Nzwaligwa argued. He also refused to respond to allegations that he has ditched the competition posed by Molefhi to ride on the coat tails of the legendary Saleshando with the hope of stepping into his boots when he retires from politics.
As an administrator, Nzwaligwa will intermingle with the constituents, give assistance and direction, and effectively represent the MP when he is away on parliamentary business. This is an opportunity for him to cement himself as the people’s favourite, and he will be in the right place to capitalize on the returns in the event that speculation that Saleshandio will retire in 2014 are true.